Remembering the Imām Yaḥyā ibn al-Qāsim mashhad in Mosul

Richard Mcclary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article consists of a detailed account of the mashhad of Imām Yaḥyā ibn al-Qāsim. The square-plan building, constructed on the cliff edge above the southern bank of the Tigris in the citadel of Mosul in c. 637/1239, was destroyed in an act of cultural terrorism by ISIS on 23 July 2014. This is a study of the work of earlier scholars on the building, a reassessment of the structure and its regional context, and a number of hypotheses regarding the original appearance of the tomb. In addition, the wide-ranging sources of the formal and decorative elements of the building are examined. The mashhad was the most richly ornamented of the medieval tombs in Iraq which had survived into the modern era, yet it had not been comprehensively studied in over a century. The remaining untranslated inscriptions are given in full, adding useful new information to the discussion regarding the important distinction between the ʿAlids versus Shīʿī associations of the building and its patron. Drawing on the limited published and archival images of the building, the internal appearance is reconstructed, and a series of new architectural plans and elevations are provided in order to preserve the memory of this important structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-154
Early online date18 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2017


  • Mosul
  • Islamic Architecture
  • ISIS
  • destruction
  • medieval

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